A cabin is covered in snow amidst a wintery backdrop
Travel Tips

Why You Should Travel More in the Winter (and 6 Places To Go First)

Going

Going

February 9, 2024

4 min read

We might ruffle some feathers here, but traveling in the off season, which typically aligns with the winter months, can be just as good—dare we say better—than traveling during peak summer season. Here’s why.  

Lower costs 

Our data shows that, while there are slightly fewer deals that we send out during the winter months (though not by much), the average cost of those deals tends to be cheaper than deals that we send out during the summer. The stats can vary from year to year, but in general, we’ve found that winter deals are as much as 5% cheaper than summer deals. 

Plus, once you get into a destination, costs also tend to be cheaper during the off season. More travelers equals more demand, so hotels, transportation services, and tour operators can charge more during peak season. Visiting during the winter can save you money in a lot of ways that you could put toward other parts of your trip—or even a whole other trip!  

Fewer crowds

Speaking of crowds, there are fewer of them in the places that you want to visit during the off season. We know that not everyone can travel during the winter; for instance, families are often restricted to school breaks. However, traveling even just slightly earlier or later in the peak season—like in late May, late August, or early September—can make a huge difference in how many people you’re up against for tickets and reservations. 

Optimal weather

Hot take: Europe in summer can be too hot. Not always! But, couple waiting in line at the Pantheon or Acropolis with a 90+ degree day at the height of summer, and that’s a recipe for a lot of upper-lip sweat. The off seasons tend to have more moderate weather (sometimes even nice enough to still hit the beach), which can make for a more comfortable trip.

Remember: Winter travel doesn’t always have to mean going somewhere to sit in the rain or snow for a week. It can if you’re into that sort of thing—Iceland’s snowy frozen waterfalls or a drizzly cabin retreat in the Pacific Northwest can really hit the mark. Traveling during the winter means just that, venturing to a place during their off season. The good news: There are plenty of destinations basking in sunshine even in the dead of winter—they just also have a ton less crowds at that time. Win win.  

Best destinations to visit in the winter 

Any place around the world can be special, no matter the season. But these are some of the best, in the words of Going’s own employees. 

Napa Valley

Yellow flowers in wine country, Napa Valley

No, you won’t see big, plump grapes hanging from the vines like in the peak summer and fall harvest seasons, but you will see red leaves coloring the valley around November and December, and from January to February, the vineyards are covered in bright yellow mustard flowers. With cheaper hotel rates and easier-to-snag reservations, Napa Valley is spectacular in the winter. 

>> See Going's cheap flights to California

Italy

Marble statues and the tops of buildings in Italy

Scorching temperatures? Nope. In the southern coastal regions, such as Sicily, you’ll get highs in the 60s during the off season, while the capital city, Rome, keeps cool highs in the 50s—perfect for walking around without getting sweaty during the day and comfortable enough to dine outside at night. As for crowds, even the most habitually bustling places are delightfully full of only locals, who relish the little bits of sunlight from heated bars and piazzas amidst the overcast winter months. 

>> See Going's cheap flights to Italy

Costa Rica

People white water raft in Costa Rica

Ticos call it “green season,” but we call it a clever rebrand for the rainy season in Costa Rica, which runs from late May to November. While the rain can be incredibly intense, it’s also awe-inspiring and rarely lasts more than a couple of hours. Prices are lower than in the dry season, the national parks are lush and vibrant, and outdoor activities like river rafting are plentiful. 

>> See Going's cheap flights to Costa Rica

Central and Eastern Europe

A snowy scene in Kraków, Poland

It’s cold, yes, but talk about a winter wonderland. Imagine: Kraków blanketed in snow, a train ride through the Julian Alps, Hungarian dessert wine by the fire, and twinkly Christmas markets in Gdánsk and Bratislava. It doesn’t get much cozier than Central and Eastern Europe in the winter.  

>> See Going's cheap flights to Kraków, Budapest, Gdánsk, and Bratislava

Egypt

A religious center in Egypt

Really any desert spot during the off season is fabulous. The weather isn’t scorching hot, meaning you can actually enjoy the sandy terrain without feeling the need to retreat indoors. And given the cooler temperatures, you’ll already be dressed modestly enough to heed Islamic dress codes.

Note: We’d like to acknowledge the conflict in neighboring Israel and Palestine. If you’re planning a trip to Cairo, keep an eye on State Department travel advisories and local news to stay apprised of current events.

>> See Going's cheap flights to Egypt

Japan

A view of Mount Fuji in Japan

The peak times to visit Japan are March–April (cherry blossom season) and September–November (fall foliage). Unfortunately, these times can also be the busiest in Japan. If you visit in the off-season, such as around February, you will unfortunately miss the cherry blossoms, but you can see Kyoto dusted in snow and try delicious bites in Tokyo without fighting for a reservation.

>> See Going's cheap flights to Japan


Published February 9, 2024

Last updated February 9, 2024

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